Loathe vs. loath

If you had to guess what the difference between loathe vs. loath is, what would you say? Would you say that they are (a) different ways of spelling the same word or (b) two different words altogether?

Have you made a guess? Good! We’re about to reveal how loathe vs. loath differ:

Loathe vs. loath are distinct words

Just like baited vs. bated, loathe vs. loath are very similar. They sound the same and they would be spelled in the same way too if it wasn’t for that silent e on loathe. But loathe vs. loath are distinct words. Here’s why:

Loathe

We’ll start with loathe, because of the two words, it’s probably the one that you’re more familiar with. Loathe is a verb that means to dislike greatly. You would use it in sentences like these:

  • “I loathe Brussels sprouts, and no matter which way you cook them, I won’t eat them.”
  • “She loathes Maxwell because he took all of the credit for the podcast they created.”
  • “I loathe commercial holidays.”

When you’re thinking about the difference between loathe vs. loath, remember that loathe describes the act of really disliking something (or someone).

Loath

So now you know what loathe means. But what about loath?

Whereas loathe is a verb, loath is an adjective, a word that describes something or someone. Someone who is loath is reluctant or unwilling to do something. For example, here’s how you would use it in a sentence:

  • “Because she didn’t like Brussels sprouts, she was loath to try the salad that contained them.”
  • “Even though she was angry at Maxwell, she was loath to confront him about taking credit for the podcast.”
  • “She was loath to leave her son at daycare.”

When you’re thinking about the difference between loathe vs. loath, remember that loath means reluctant.

How to remember the difference between loathe vs. loath

Unfortunately, we don’t have any clever tricks to help you remember the difference between loathe vs. loath. (If you’ve got one, let us know!).

But we can tell you this: Use loathe (the verb) if you can replace it with another verb (e.g., dislike) and your sentence will still make sense:

  • “I dislike commercial holidays.”

In comparison, use loath if you can replace it with another adjective (e.g., reluctant) and your sentence will still make sense:

  • “She was reluctant to leave her child at daycare.”

Summary

Loathe vs. loath look like they could be different ways to spell the same word. But they aren’t. Use loathe to say that someone dislikes something. And use loath to say that someone is reluctant to do something.

Would you use composed or comprised in this sentence: “The house was _______ of three rooms”? Find the answer in our post on the difference between compose vs. comprise.




Loathe vs. loath: What’s the difference?
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